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Stella by Stella McCartney – Caroline Hirons


What the brand says…
“Rooted in nature, effective and responsible, another way to care for your skin and planet.”
“Skincare with a clear conscience by Stella McCartney.”

What you need to know
Her second attempt at breaking into the skincare world, Stella by Stella McCartney launched earlier this month, to the predictable fanfare and celebration from those areas of our industry where beauty crosses with fashion. The range has however, received a more considered response from those of us in the beauty industry who don’t have to appease the fashion world and their advertisers.
The range currently includes a cleanser, serum and moisturiser, plus refills and a set of minis (more of which later).

Who is it for?
Anyone who totally buys into the ‘clean’/’green’/’natural’ messaging that can afford it. The range isn’t active enough to target one particular skin type or concern. If you have good skin, want to maintain it, can afford it, knock yourself out.

You need this if…
You are obsessed with ‘clean’/’green’/’natural’, can afford it and are a fan of Stella.

You don’t need this if…
You have particular skin concerns you want to treat or you can’t afford it.

Reset Cleanser 150ml – £50.00
Refill 150ml – £38.00
This is a cream-to-foam formula that claims to leave your skin ‘oxygenated’. It is sold as a first and second cleanse.

Key Ingredients
Sunflower oil
Marine spring water
Organic birch sap

INCI
Aqua, helianthus annuus, glycerin, decyl glucoside, propanediol, disodium cocoyl glutamate, pentylene glycol, maris aqua, betula alba juice, tocopherol, xanthan gum, citric acid, sclerotium gum, sodium cocoyl glutamate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate.

Alter Care Serum 50ml – £110
Refill 50ml – coming soon
This is said to ‘hydrate, revitalise, regenerate and protect’. It is essentially a hydrating serum with your usual hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid (the basic salt version) and squalane.

Key Ingredients
‘Natural organic hyaluronic acid’
Organic rock samphire extract
Biotechnical lingonberry extract
Olive squalane
Marine spring water
Wild harvested dulse algae extract

INCI
Aqua, Glycerin, Propanediol, Squalane, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglycerin-3, Maris Aqua, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea Fruit Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Jojoba Esters, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Hydroxyacetophenone, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Alcaligenes Polysaccharides, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Gluconolactone, Glucose, Calcium Gluconate, Caprylic/​Capric/​Succinic Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Parfum.

Restore Cream 50ml – £85
Refill 50ml – £70
This is a nourishing moisturiser that is lightweight but not greasy. Clinicals say that “wrinkles will be smoothed out and skin elasticity and vitality appear restored”.

Key Ingredients
Organic birch sap
Natural origin hyaluronic acid
Cherry blossom extract

INCI
Aqua, Glycerin, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Tribehenin, Betula Alba Juice, Coco-Caprylate/​Caprate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, C10-18 Triglycerides, Prunus Cerasus, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyacetophenone, Betaine, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Glucose, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Parfum


Final thoughts:

I really wanted to like this line. Instead I’m disappointed. I’m amused at the patronising ‘I’m here to save the industry from itself’ tone, and justifiably annoyed on behalf of my industry.
Why the disappointment?

  • The products are nothing special, they’re ok, but to my mind, they do not match the price.
  • They shouldn’t do you any harm, but they equally cannot be expected to help any skin conditions except perhaps dehydration.
  • The claims are designed to allow the consumer to misunderstand the information presented to them, and are hidden under the guise of educating you on things that Stella is apparently much more clued up on than the rest of us, having been ‘born to a family of creators’ and ‘raised to see things from a different perspective’. www.stellamccartneybeauty.com
  • Claiming that the ingredients are ‘99% natural origin’ using the ISO 16128 standard is generally seen as a good thing, but the claim itself on the packaging is clearly made to lead the consumer to believe that the product is basically still in its ‘natural’ state, which it obviously is not, having gone through numerous chemical processes to get to the point of being used in a product.
    Example: at some point the cardboard packaging was a tree. It’s not now is it?
  • Highlighting the length of ingredients lists per product implies that it elevates the product above others that use more ingredients. It doesn’t.
  • Claiming that you have banned ‘almost 2000 ingredients, exceeding the EU regulations’ is absolutely fine, you go for it. But the EU are seen as the Gold standard to the industry as a whole, and the insinuation that the EU are not doing enough is incorrect, and should not be implied.
  • And finally, my personal favourite, and the reason my BS detector was initially triggered, ‘it has also been decided to ship, rather than fly, products to the US, meaning the carbon footprint has been slashed by more than a third’. No-one in this (or any) industry, and I mean no-one, chooses to fly their products to their retailers/distributors, unless they are on a deadline, have had a production disaster, or some similar potential interruption to their business. Why? Because it is far more expensive to put pallets of skincare onto an airplane than onto a train, lorry or cargo liner. It saves money, not the planet.

Just because you can make a skincare line, doesn’t always mean you should.



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